Ralph Sampson In The News Again

I waited late to write this week's article and quite, frankly, I was having a little trouble deciding what to write about. I thought about writing about the Lawson verbal and the possibility that his commitment will cause other commitments, both UNC and others, to begin now. Many refer to this phenomenon as "the dominoes." and it seems to happen every year. There is a period where everything on the recruiting front seems dead, a top recruit will declare and the race is on. It's hard to explain why one decision by a top ranked recruit can cause this to happen but it's difficult to explain how the movement of one stone can cause an avalanche. Maybe somewhere hidden in the subconscious minds of the recruits, the thought occurs that the train may be preparing to leave the station and if I want to be sure I am on it, I had better get aboard.

Then I thought I might be able to write about Echefu's decision but apparently he has decided to postpone it until Monday and that will be too late for a Sunday posting. With my luck, he will make his decision on Sunday which will be too late for me to meet my deadline with my web master.

So while trying to select a subject for an article, I checked yesterday's traffic for ramfanatic.com and there, to my surprise, was the basis for an intriguing story about Ralph Sampson.

I have written here about Ralph Sampson before and a couple of weeks ago I received an email asking why I was trying to locate Sampson at NCAA Tournament time in '04. I explained to the writer that I had been contacted by ESPN to see if I could help them locate Sampson for a commercial they were preparing, featuring players from the past. I was able to help them locate the whereabouts of Sampson but, by that time, ESPN had reached their deadline and they used Waymon Tisdale instead.

So what am I leading up to. The Richmond Times Dispatch and Richmond TV stations are reporting that Ralph Sampson was arrested in Atlanta yesterday for failure to pay child support for two children who now reside in Virginia. Sampson was reportedly released on a $30,000 bond and will appear in U.S. District Court in Richmond on indictments returned by a grand jury earlier this week.

I'm not tying to spotlight Sampson's financial troubles but there is a strong connection between ramfanatic.com and Sampson. Even though I'm sure he doesn't know the web site exists, for months his name along with Rashad McCants are the most searched names on the site. It is easier to understand McCants than it is Sampson. Sampson has been away from basketball for a decade now and he is 44 years old. There is something about him, though, that perpetuates an interest on the part of fans and it's a shame that he finds himself in such a financial predicament. He may be facing incarceration this time because he is on probation from a previous charge of failure to pay child support. He last played in the NBA in '92 , and as recently as '99 received $539,000 from the Sacramento Kings in the form of deferred compensation. The court's earlier award for one of his daughters in Virginia equals $247,500. Sampson reported earnings of $11,207 in 2001 and " more than $47,000" in 2004.

I have refrained from explaining why the information on the web site traffic report provided the impetus for this article being written. The reason is that yesterday's traffic exceeded the previous daily record by a significant number and this covers a four and one-half year period. In my opinion, there could be no explanation for this figure other than the fact that Sampson has been arrested plus continued interest on the part of basketball fans in the 3 time National College Player of the Year.

Stay tuned.